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Format vs Squarespace: Which is Better?

Format vs Squarespace

Format and Squarespace are two renowned website builders, which have gained worldwide popularity due to their distinctive functionality and advanced design customization options. Each of the systems can be used to start and manage portfolio websites meant for artists, models, photographers and other representatives of creative professions.

While Format is a specialized portfolio website builder, which manifests itself as a credible and full-featured platform to start and manage all kinds of portfolio projects, Squarespace is the all-in-one website builder, which serves an extensive variety of goals, including portfolio website creation.

Website Builders Comparison Chart

Our score:          
Best for:Portfolio websitesBlogs, small business websites, professional portfolios, web stores
Templates:23 designs, which are responsive and freeDozens of free responsive templates
Technical Support:24/7 customer support, Help Center, email and live chatLive Chat, Email Support, Community Forum, Ticketing System, FAQ section
Blogging Options:Built-in blogging platformIntegrated blogging CMS
SEO Options:Detailed SEO settingsAdvanced SEO parameters
Pricing:Starts fro $6/moStarts from $12/mo
More info:Format Review →Squarespace Review →

Both platforms are worth the attention of people willing to launch portfolio websites and each of them has something to offer for a certain project. While Format is a more niche-focused system, Squarespace unveils more extensive opportunities and freedom of actions, when it comes to website development. It’s high time to review the features of each service in details now to find out what exactly they have in stock.

Format vs Squarespace: General Overview

Format vs Squarespace: General Overview

Format serves the only purpose – to start projects that lets their owners display their creativity, talent and professional services. Due to the abundance of niche-specific features, it proves to be a great pick for artists, models, photographers, designers, illustrators, architects, creatives and all other users, who pursue the idea to showcase their works online.

Launched in 2010 in Canada, the website builder has become quite popular with the target audience. It is now widely used in more than 190 countries worldwide. The system currently powers more than 455 000 portfolio websites, being known due to its ease-of-use, convenient, integrated visual editor and intuitive dashboard. No coding skills are required to work with the website builder – just follow the guidelines the system generates to start and manage professional portfolios with it.

Squarespace is an easy DIY cloud website builder, which serves a variety of web design goals. The system comes with the convenient WYSIWYG editor, responsive themes and a set of design customization tools to give them personalized look. The platform works equally well for beginners and web design pros, making it possible to run portfolios, small business websites, blogs and small-to-midsize web stores. It boasts intuitive and convenient interface, abundance of design customization tools and versatility of templates that are divided into niche categories.

Founded in 2003, Squarespace has gained worldwide recognition as one of the best website development systems. The number of projects created with the website builder is growing with every passing day. It currently exceeds 2.1 millions websites. It takes some time to get used to the website builder and to explore the entire spectrum of its nuances. As soon as you do that, you will be able to start working on your own personal/business project.

Format and Squarespace differ in their functionality and target audience. Format is a niche website builder used to start portfolio projects, while Squarespace allows creating different types of projects, including portfolios. This is what makes the system a truly all-in-one website builder.

Format vs Squarespace: Which One Is Easier to Use?

Format vs Squarespace: Which One Is Easier to Use?

Format is quite an easy-to-use website builder yet it also takes time to master it. The website builder comes with multiple options and high end functionality that lets you start a feature-laden project from scratch. To help you get started with ease, the website builder offers a standard 6-step checklist. Just follow it to create and publish a quality portfolio with regard to your needs. To do that, you’ll have to pick a template, fill it with content, upload images, integrate media files and adjust the required settings. The entire process does not take much time as soon as you get used to the website builder.

Format vs Squarespace: Which is Better?

If there is anything you would like to find out about the service, you can contact the customer support team of the service. It is based on the location factor to be available in different parts of the world 24/7. It’s possible to get in touch with the support team via live chat or email. If you wish to find out more about the system and look for general info, go ahead to browse the Help Center that offers multiple posts, tutorials and guidelines.

Squarespace is quite an easy to use website builder among its competitors. The sign up process is simple and understandable here even for a newbie, while the interface is intuitive and clean. The platform offers a slight learning curve, making it possible to work in the WYSIWYG editor. This simplifies the process of website development. The only problem is that Squarespace doesn’t have a preview option to let you see the result of your work before its publication. This may somewhat slow down the process of website creation, especially if you need to make any edits.

Squarespace Editor

When working with Squarespace, get ready to choose from multiple template layouts the system will offer, although, it is possible to omit this step and proceed to the design selection and customization process. The website builder comes with the intuitive drag-and-drop editor that lets you pick and adjust website elements on a page. There is also the integrated Style Editor that provides deeper design customization options. Apart from the standard opportunity to add and move the selected elements, you will also be able to change backgrounds, colors and fonts, resize and crop images and complete lots of other steps.

Squarespace also has the live chat available round-the-clock and email support realized in the form of the ticketing system. There is also an extensive Help Center with video tutorials, informative blog posts, how-to guides and other resources that simplify the process of exploring the system.

Speaking about ease of use, Format is a bit simpler website builder because of its portfolio-based focus and less extensive feature set. The system may even seem primitive for experienced web designers, but it’s also user-friendly and convenient. Squarespace has an easy dashboard, but it’s also more feature-laden and, thus, it takes more time to master it.

Format vs Squarespace: Design and Flexibility

Format vs Squarespace: Design and Flexibility

The fact that Format is a specialized portfolio website builder implies strong niche focus of the system. This means that its feature set is initially geared towards portfolio website development, while that of Squarespace has a more universal character applicable to all types of websites. This is what makes the comparison of the systems’ functionality quite an interesting endeavour.


Format comes with an integrated eCommerce engine, which is one of the undeniable highlights of the system. The website builder makes it possible to create and connect a web store to sell certain services/products.

Format eCommerce

The platform offers versatile payment, shipping and currency options. It also allows setting up stock items, SEO parameters, customer notifications and special web store characteristics. Initially, you’ll be able to upload 3 products only, but you can upgrade to one of the paid plans for the unlimited product upload opportunity. The system also lets you create and manage discounts, customer orders and general web store settings in the corresponding website section.

Squarespace also ranks high in terms of eCommerce options. The website builder makes it possible to create professional portfolio websites with integrated web stores, where you can sell your products/services.

Squarespace Edit Product

It is allowed to sell up to 100 products, use several popular payment options, manage orders, product lists, pricing and other related parameters here.

When it tackles the eCommerce aspect, Squarespace unveils more extensive options. The website builder allows starting and managing even medium online stores to sell your products/services there. Format somewhat lacks eCommerce functionality and this does not let you get the most out of your portfolio website performance.


Format has an integrated blogging platform, which lets you create and customize blogs that contribute to the performance of your portfolio website. This is the pace, where you will be able to publish niche articles to initiate user discussions and encourage them to have a look at your works/services.

Format Blogging Engine

The blogging feature is quite easy to use here – just connect the blog section, upload and manage posts, integrate videos and images, create and upload presentations, set up publication parameters, focusing on the creation of multimedia stories.

Squarespace blogging options are also on the top level (see Squarespace blog examples here). The website builder supports post scheduling feature, geo tagging, URL customization and other blog-related solutions. Additionally, you will be able to use Google Analytics, adjust blog post display parameters, multiple author support, show window options and other must-have features.

Squarespace Blogging

Squarespace lets you import blogs from other platforms, such as Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress or Posterous, for example. Likewise, it is possible to import products from Shopify and Big Cartel. This helps cut down the overall blog development time.

As to the blogging aspect, Squarespace comes with a more extensive set of blog-related features and tools that ensure perfect result in the long run. Format also makes it possible to create a blog and connect it to your portfolio. But don’t expect deep flexibility from it.

Widgets and Add-Ons

Format does not have integrable add-ons, although, it is possible to add third-party widgets via code injection. The system developers pay much attention to content privacy and, thus, they make it possible to adjust client access rights, waterproof the uploaded images, review individual customer feedbacks in the corresponding Client Proofing Section available in the dashboard. It is also possible to create and update client proofing galleries directly from Adobe Lightroom here. Another Format highlight is its integrated blogging engine, which makes it possible to connect a blog to your portfolio. This is where you will be able to add posts as well as video and photo presentations.

Squarespace unveils more possibilities, when it comes to widget integration. The website builder comes with extensive choice of add ons users can choose and integrate into their projects to improve their functionality. These include analytic tools and metrics, social sharing buttons, contact forms, Google Maps and many more.

To sum it up, Format somewhat lags behind Squarespace in terms of widget selection. The system lacks integrable add-ons, but it is possible to integrate third-party extensions via code injection. Squarespace offers much more widget integration options without any coding awareness at all.

Domain and Hosting Management

Format doesn’t have a free plan, which means that all the websites launched with the service will automatically acquire free domain names and will be hosted on the system servers.

Squarespace offers the same feature. As the all-in-one website builder, the system grants access to built-in hosting and domain connection option. Thus, you don’t have to waste your effort and time looking for the most suitable server solution that will cover your website needs. What you need is to explore the subscription options the website builder offers and pick the one, which will be the best match for your web design needs.

Format and Squarespace almost don’t differ in terms of website management as both systems come with integrated hosting and domain name options.

Template Editing

Format templates are professional, free and responsive, but the choice is pretty limited here. The system can currently offer 23 designs only, which, however, are available in several layouts and color variations for the versatility of choice. All the designs fall into 6 types (fullscreen, slideshow, tiled, vertical, horizontal and Premium).

Format vs Squarespace: Which is Better?

The preview option lets you see the design you are going to select before you actually do that. This is convenient and handy for most users. Design customization options are on a worthy level as well. You will be able to upload portfolio title and logo, set up backgrounds, fonts and styles, link to social network profiles, personalize website favicon and domain name. Code editing option is enabled here as well, which allows creating unique portfolio designs.

Speaking about design customization options, Format grants access to three sections – Pages, Design and Settings for extra convenience. Each of these sections comes with its own settings and elements you can choose from to complete a certain action. This may be a good start for beginners.

Squarespace also ranks high in terms of template design. The system boasts a rich design gallery comprised of 105 themes and this number keeps steadily growing. The templates are also responsive and they can easily adjust to mobile and desktop screens (see proofs).

Squarespace Responsive Templates

Design quality is also pretty nice. Squarespace are categories with regard to the niches they belong to. If you wish to get unique website design, you can edit website codes – the system allows doing that as well. A truly undeniable advantage of the website builder is its integrated Cover Page Builder that comes with 29 ready-made templates you can customize to create one-of-a-kind portfolios.

As to the design customization, Squarespace comes with the integrated drag-and-drop editor that is quite intuitive and convenient for everyone. It lets you pick and adjust website elements on a page. There is also the integrated Style Editor that provides deeper design customization options. Apart from standard opportunity to add and move the selected elements, you will also be able able to change backgrounds, colors and fonts, resize and crop images and complete lots of other steps.

When it comes to the design aspect, both website builders offer impressive and quality templates. Format provides more layout and color design variations, while Squarespace boasts wider template choice and Cover Page Builder. Both systems allow creating responsive websites and allow for code editing.

Format vs Squarespace: General Pricing Comparison

Format vs Squarespace: General Pricing Comparison

Format offers a 14-day free trial, which is enough to decide, whether the system comes up to your requirements and needs or not. Upon the end of the trial, you’ll be offered to upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions that grant access to advanced features and tools. The website builder currently has 3 plans, namely:

Format Pricing

  • Enthusiast ($6/mo billed annually) – 100 images, 3 store products, 15 pages;
  • Pro ($12/mo billed annually) – 1000 images, 20 store products, unlimited pages and blog posts, 5000 proofing images, free domain, custom code editing;
  • Unlimited ($25/mo billed annually) – unlimited images, unlimited store products, unlimited pages and blog posts, unlimited proofing images, free domain and premium themes, custom code editing.

If you decide to pay on a monthly basis, get ready to pay around 30% more for the selected subscription. There is the 30-day money back guarantee and an opportunity to get a 30-minute website set up assistance from the system Expert for $50.

Squarespace, in its turn, offers an opportunity to test the system for free. After that, you’ll be offered to get a paid subscription that matches your web design needs. Currently, there are 4 of them here:

Squarespace Price

  • Personal ($12/mo billed annually) – free custom domain, SSL Security, SEO features, unlimited bandwidth and storage, 2 contributors, 24/7 customer support, website metrics;
  • Business ($18/mo billed annually) – unlimited contributors, professional email from Google, premium blocks and integrations, CSS/JavaScript design customization, advanced website analytics, fully-integrated eCommerce, 3% transaction fees etc.;
  • Basic Commerce ($26/mo billed annually) – customer accounts, domain checkout feature, powerful eCommerce analytics, Instagram synchronization etc.;
  • Advanced Commerce ($40/mo billed annually) – abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, advanced shipping and discounts, APIs for order and inventory, limited availability labels etc.

As to the pricing policy, Format is cheaper as compared to Squarespace. At the same time, Squarespace offers more advanced features that are absolutely worth their cost. The choice should depend upon the type of project you are going to launch, the features you’d like it to have and the result you hope to get in the long run.

Format vs Squarespace: Which One Is the Best for SEO?

Format vs Squarespace: Which One Is the Best for SEO?

Format offers an opportunity to adjust detailed SEO settings available in the separate SEO section of the dashboard. The section is further subdivided into Content and Global SEO settings that make it possible to thoroughly set up the required parameters for better search engine optimization. Among the must-have fields you need to fill out, it makes sense to point out SEO website title, web page descriptions, homepage title, meta tags/keywords etc. The website builder automatically generates the sitemap of your project and provides the percentage scale, which lets you see how well your website is optimized for the search engines. It boasts instant synchronization of your Instagram account with the portfolio that allows for quick upload of images in both accounts.

Squarespace, in its turn, also allows filling out SEO boxes with website/ web page descriptions and meta tags. The website builder ensures simple and quick social media integration, which contributes to better promotion of websites in the search engines. The website builder automatically generates headings for posts and products to further use them as SEO titles for separate website pages. Mind, however, that the system does not let you manually set up website titles and SEO settings. Instead, it is possible to hide the required pages of your website from indexing by the search engines. That’s a notable advantage of the system.

When it comes to the Search Engine Optimization, Format and Squarespace are both SEO-friendly platforms that pay much attention to website promotion in the search engines. Squarespace, however, grants access to more SEO settings, which eventually results in better promotion of projects in the search engines.

Which One Is the Best for Photography Website – Format or Squarespace?

Which One Is the Best for Photography Website - Format or Squarespace?

Format is a specialized portfolio-focused website builder. This fact already speaks for itself. The system lets you create photography websites from scratch, granting access to an impressive variety of niche-specific tools. Along with a nice template collection and versatility of design customization tools, the system lets you connect a blog and a web store to your project to start selling your works/services online and encourage user interest in your works.

Format also pays much attention to private content and user confidentiality. It’s possible to create projects for partner cooperation in a separate Proofing section here. This is where you can share private client proofing galleries, enable file downloads, review customer feedbacks, watermark images etc. Social account integration, which is also available here, helps share your portfolio content as well as updates in social networks to grow your potential customer base.

Squarespace also works well for photography website creation (see real Squarespace websites). The website builder comes with a quality and rich collection of templates you can browse to start a portfolio project. The system features improves usability and it also comes with built-in eCommerce and blogging engines. Among the features that let you create an impressive project of this type, it makes sense to mention an opportunity to start email marketing campaigns, embed Google maps and online forms, integrate analytic tools to track website conversions and traffic parameters, use the advanced Logo Maker and Image Editor etc.

Special attention should be given to the brand new Unfold App. It makes it possible to create and share visually-appealing and feature-laden posts and stories in social networks. This is a great option that gives your photography website professional and high end design.

When you currently face the need to start a photography website, you can pick both website builders for this purpose. Each of them lets you run this type of project yet Squarespace delivers great flexibility and creative freedom. The website builder comes with more advanced and powerful integrated functionality that will eventually let you avail perfect result.

Key Differences Between Format and Squarespace

Ease of Use:Format is a specialized portfolio website builder, which is quite easy to master. However, newbies might require more time to get used to the system because of its niche focus.Squarespace is a DIY drag-and-drop website builder. It works well for users with various coding skills, being a good choice for web stores, blogs, landing pages, business projects etc.
Functionality:The platform has everything you might need to showcase your work and unveil versatile opportunities. The system allows starting trendy portfolios with responsive design and versatile structure. It allows for social account integration, blog and web store connection, client proofing feature, niche designs etc.The website builder offers integrated WYSIWYG editor, Logo Maker, social integrations, blogging and eCommerce engines, Cover Page Builder, statistics tracking, SEO tools, advanced marketing as well Google Maps embedding features and high end Acuity Scheduling platform.
Design:The website builder has only 23 professional portfolio-related templates. They are free and responsive to be viewed on any mobile and desktop devices. Code editing option is available here as well along with quality design customization tools.Squarespace template collection encompasses dozens of quality and responsive templates. They make it possible to set up different projects, which are fully-customizable and professional.
eCommerce:Format comes with a built-in eCommerce engine that lets you start a small-to-medium web store to sell your products/services online.Squarespace eCommerce engine lets you launch and update small and medium web stores, assigning their crucial parameters.
Blogging:The platform comes with a blogging engine. It allows connecting and managing a quality blog to your portfolio, adjusting its major configurations.With Squarespace, it is possible to start a quality blog. It’s up to you to update it when needed as well as to customize its design with regard to your niche preferences.
Small Business:Format is geared towards portfolio creation only and, thus, it can’t be used to run business projects unless they are related to this niche specialization.The website builder works well for small business website development. It lets you integrate numerous media files, business widgets, Acuity Platform as well as handy statistics tracking and email marketing tools.
Pricing:The website builder has a 14-day free trial and 3 paid subscriptions. Their cost starts with $6/mo.Squarespace has a 14-day free trial and several pricing options for standard and eCommerce websites. Their cost starts with $12/mo.
SEO:Format makes it possible to set up the major SEO configurations of your portfolio website. The SEO section is divided into Global and Content SEO settings where you can adjust the required parameters.Squarespace is a SEO-friendly website builder. Along with the opportunity to fill out the main SEO parameters for better website promotion, it also allows hiding your website (or its pages) from indexing by the search engines.
Customer Support:24/7 customer support, Help Center, email and live chat24/7 Live Chat, Ticketing System, Email Support, FAQ section, Community Forum

Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?

When you get the idea to start a website, you should clearly realize your objectives and requirements. This is the only surefire way to choose the right website builder that will absolutely match your vision of the website creation process. As soon as you decide what kind of website exactly you need, it will be easier for you to make the right choice of the web building tool.

Format – is a specialized portfolio website builder that works great for creatives, models, artists, designers and photographers. The feature set of the system is geared exclusively towards portfolio development and promotion and Format really excels at this.

Squarespace – is the all-in-one website builder that covers a wide spectrum of web design needs. It’s good for the creation of small web stores, business websites and portfolio projects. The system is modern and feature-laden and you can use it for advanced web design tasks.

If you intend to create a full-featured portfolio, then Format is definitely the platform to go for, but if you need a more complicated and advanced website with powerful integrations, then Squarespace will surely be a more preferable solution.

Format vs Squarespace: Which is Better?
  • Specialized portfolio site builder
  • Client proofing feature
  • Three paid plans
  • Social account integration
Format vs Squarespace: Which is Better?
  • Integrated eCommerce platform
  • Unfold App - Storytelling tool
  • Developers platform
  • Acuity scheduling tool

About the Author

I'm Howard Steele, the founder and editor-in-chief of this website. With over 10 years of web building I know how complicated and tiresome this task can be for a non-IT person. Can’t decide which service to choose? Feel free to ask me for advice. Just describe your website needs, and I’ll gladly help you.

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